Designed by Ryder Cup legend, Colin Montgomerie, his new course at the colossal Celtic Manor Resort opened for play in July 2007 alongside its big brother the Twenty Ten course.
Monty’s new course has used the opening and closing holes from the old Wentwood Hills course for its front nine and the homeward nine has been created from land that once housed Celtic Manor’s old 18-hole Coldra Woods academy course.
While the Montgomerie course features a few deep pot bunkers and the club’s marketing blurb will have you believe that this gives the course a links-like feel, the layout is an open-country parkland affair with dramatic elevated tee shots across valleys.
The addition of the new 6,371-yard par 69 Montgomerie course allows Celtic Manor to boast three top-class courses and it has reaffirmed their position as the premier golf resort in Wales.
This course is hilly; I have played courses with hilly holes (in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, mid Wales, Herefordshire etc), but I think that overall this is the hilliest course I have played. There are also long walks between tees (a bit like Manor House, Castle Combe ) so the debate is buggy or not. I went without buggy and my playing partners chose buggy .. think I made right decision as buggy paths were down one side of each fairway and mean't a long walk from path to ball (at same time trying to guess which clubs to take with them).
A very modern style course with fairly generous fairways and huge greens, all very well presented. The greens had a lot of slopes and this helped to make it quite a difficult par 69 off the white tees. There are two par 5's (one steeply uphill and one steeply downhill) and five par 3's which were fairly similar in style and length (vaying from 158 to 183 yards). For me there were too many approach shots that were either uphill or blind over a mound (maybe 13 in total).
An innocuous couple of opening holes is followed by a gorgeous looking tee shot on hole 3. Framed by trees either side there are a couple of nicely shaped bunkers on the right hand side and in the distance the fairway dives down the hill so I'm wondering if this could be called an infinity tee ?. The hole is 600 yards and steeply downhill after the drive so it doesn't really deliver (for me) in terms of being a great hole overall. From the 3rd green there is a long walk (mainly downhill) to the 4th, which is the pick of the par 3's. Nice looking tee shots at 4, 5 and 7 and I would say the stretch from 3 to 7 is the most interesting part of the course. Then follows the long uphill par 4 8th which basically gets you back up to the level of the 3rd tee; the trade-off of one downhill hole (the third) for four or five uphill holes doesn't I'm afraid work for me. Holes 8 and 9 ( a par 5) have a combined yardage of 986 yards basically all uphill and were a boring slog to finish the front nine. The back nine starts with a nice par 4 (a dog-leg with a pond to negotiate in front of the green) but after that it offered little of interest.
My overall conclusion was 'modern and very hilly'. Just not my cup of tea and I would personally not choose to play again … would much rather pay the extra to play the 2010 course !
Played this as my 400th course worldwide (37th in Wales), having previously played the other two resort courses last year.
Personally I would rank this higher than Roman Road as a very good layout which is both challenging for your golf AND your lungs.
Had my faith in the membership here restored as played wth two nice blokes (Spider and Lee) rather than the idiots who rudely chased us round the Roman Road even though we were waiting on several groups stacked up in front of us ?!?!?
Tough par 3's - but rather bewildering stroke indexes for them ??
Some very good 4's and 5's.
Much more opportunity to lose balls on here than R/Road and 2010 other than the water of course.
As I said a very good layout, buggy recommended, and I think better than the Roman Road !?
I'd played this course in March and the overnight frost made the first few greens rather interesting! Quite surprised to have been let out to play with the greens still in that condition actually. It was something that caused me to wait an hour the next day at Royal Porthcawl before play could commence.
Anyway, apart from the cold, (it was quite a sunny day and I was down to a shirt by the back nine) I really enjoyed this course and the oft mentioned elevation changes. The 3rd was the headline act for the green just seeming to hang on the horizon, but I really enjoyed the lay of the holes on the back nine. In fact, I'd enjoyed the inward holes so much I was seriously considering walking off the 18th straight into the golf shop to go back out and try the Roman Road course. Well at least until my wife dragged me away, helpfully noting that I'd played that morning and was booked into Porthcawl as well and we still had to go and be proper tourists on a short visit to Cardiff.
Perhaps a stay onsite in the future with games at all three courses, if I ever find myself back in Wales.
The Montgomerie course, named after Colin Montgomerie OBE who designed the course is of similar ilk to the Roman Road in both style and substance.
The walk is more undulating than the Roman Road and at times can be a little gruelling if you are not using a buggy but the quality of the actual holes is pleasing.
The best holes on the course are the downhill par five 3rd that has impressive views from the summit of the fairway whilst the next hole, a par three of 181 yards from the back tees, is also a superb hole. The next doesn't disappoint either before a run of solid holes takes you to the turn.
The 10th was my favourite hole on the course because it allows you to decide how much of the downhill dog-leg you risk taking on in order to give yourself a better and shorter shot to a green fronted by water.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
Montgomerie day after very heavy rain, in great nick, very long hilly walk but burnt off calories from overnight stay at CM, buggy would be ok but you will still walk a lot, me and my wife did it no real problem. Long walk between some holes so if infirm, get a buggy! Front 9 one of the most pretty scenes I have seen, third is a wonder. Back 9 not quite so hilly.
We played as part of a Society stay and play, and we probably enjoyed this the most of the three courses with some very challenging holes and elevation changes giving nice views of the surrounding countryside. Very hilly, so definitely take buggies and don't drive too fast or scary power slides can ensue !